Learn to live within your means to achieve a sense of peace

Q: My husband and I work full-time. We’re having problems making ends meet, so we’re looking for better jobs. Meanwhile, we’re trying to make a little extra here and there, but it’s becoming exhausting. Do you have any suggestions?

Jim: It’s a common statement: The money comes in; the money goes out. And for a lot of us, there’s not much left over when it’s all said and done. It’s a never-ending cycle that leaves many families wondering how to get ahead when they’re barely making it.

Many couples can only think of one solution to that problem: make more money. A little extra cash may ease some of our immediate stress, but it usually isn’t a long-term solution for debt. That’s because the more money we earn, the more we’re likely to elevate our standard of living. And more stuff means more spending. It’s no wonder couples at all income levels, even the wealthy, often feel the squeeze of debt.

Ultimately, the only solution that works is learning how to live on less than what we make — no matter our income level. That can require some tough choices that force us to dig deep and sacrifice. On one end of the financial scale, it may mean selling a car or downsizing our home. On the smaller end, maybe we decide to eat out less or limit our entertainment choices.

Living within our means may not fill our lives with material luxury. But it will give us luxury of a different kind: contentment and peace instead of stress.

We have a number of resources to help you get a handle on finances — and lifestyle — at FocusOnTheFamily.com.

Jim Daly is a husband and father, an author and president of Focus on the Family.

and host of the Focus on the Family radio program.